Music: Socialist-Realist Mozart

"My Praguers understand me."

—Mozart in 1787

Operagoers at the opening of The Magic Flute at Prague's National Theater last week were scarcely settled in their seats when they were startled by three thunderclaps from the drums. The curtain rose on a Tamino dressed in a flamboyant sports outfit. He was presently joined by the Queen of the Night, who arrived in a carriage drawn by several men in tail coats and top hats. Thus prepared, the audience was scarcely surprised to see Sarastro roaming the Temple of Wisdom in a business suit, or later sitting on Pamina's bed in a modern...

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